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Novak Djokovic has stated on social media that he is gearing up to compete at the US Open next month, despite current entry requirements preventing him from entering the country due to his vaccination status. US President Joe Biden is under pressure from a cluster of politicians, who believe that the reigning Wimbledon champion should be allowed to compete for another Grand Slam title at Flushing Meadows.
Djokovic’s Covid vaccine drama began at the Australian Open earlier this year, where he was held in a detention centre before ultimately being deported after an ugly legal battle. It emerged that the Serb had not been jabbed, and in the months since he has shown an unwavering determination to keep the pressure at bay.
He had no such legal trouble at Wimbledon where he beat the likes of Jannik Sinner and Cameron Norrie en route to a blockbuster final. Once there, he surrendered the first set to fiery Aussie Nick Kyrgios but came roaring back to win in four.
That takes him to 21 Grand Slam titles, behind only Rafael Nadal on the all-time list. But naturally, Djokovic wants to walk away from the sport at the very top, and a recent social media caption suggests that he still holds out hope that he can add to his tally at Flushing Meadows in September.
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“I just wanted to take a moment and say to all of you how grateful I am to see so many messages of support and love from all around the world these days,” he wrote on Instagram. “I wasn’t expecting it, and that’s why it feels so mindblowing. Just wanted to say THANK YOU.
“It feels special that people connect with my tennis career in such a loving and supportive way and wish for me to continue to compete. I am preparing as if I will be allowed to compete, while I await to hear if there is any room for me to travel to US. Fingers crossed!”
Djokovic’s hopeful statement comes two days after Robert Kennedy Jr, son of former President John F Kennedy, joined the group of authoritative voices amping up the pressure on Biden. Current guidelines prevent unvaccinated foreigners from entering the USA, with only very rare exceptions.
Kennedy Jr tweeted: “TAKE ACTION: Tell Biden Administration to Let Djokovic Play in US Open.” He also attached a link to the Children’s Health Defence website, which contained the following statement: “It’s time to end the ineffective, discriminatory policies preventing him from competing.
The US Open is due to get underway at the end of August and Djokovic will be keen to avenge his defeat in last year’s final to Daniil Medvedev. The Serb has only prevailed three times at Flushing Meadows, with his latest triumph coming in 2018.
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